What. The. Hell…WENN is reporting that a new poll of the greatest TV Action Heroes was just released. The top five?
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
3. Jack Bauer (24)
4. Sydney Bristow (Alias)
5. Magnum P.I.
First off, it’s good to see two women in the top five (apparently, Xena also made the top ten, but so far I’ve been unable to track down the full list). And you know what? I’m not really sure why Magnum’s up there, but any guy who’s man enough to pull off that Freddie Mercury ‘stache and short shorts through the late 80s deserves kudos in my book.
But what’s going on with the top two? Buffy is the Slayer, chosen to defend the world against all the Forces of Darkness, invested with powers originating from pure demonic essence which endow her with superhuman speed, agility, and endurance. Plus, she’s got great hair. MacGyver, on the other hand, engages in occasional scuffles with random bad guys with the use of his trusty Swiss Army Knife and an array of relatively impressive D.I.Y. skills. Come on! You might as well pit Kali the Destroyer against Encyclopedia Brown. There’s no contest!
Buffy Summers battled not only vampires, but whole hordes of demons, monsters, evil scientists, even gods, and faced down at least two Apocalypses, for crying out loud! And she did it while dealing with all the trials and travails of high school, college, a hot mess of relationship issues, and the whiniest, most irritating younger sister ever inflicted upon the world in human form. Okay, so she had badass Slayer strength on her side, but that girl had a training regimen that made the average Olympic gymnast look about as active as Jabba the Hut. And let’s face it, Buffy could take a licking and keep on ticking—she died! Twice! Didn’t stop her…it just pissed her off.
MacGyver was pretty cool, I’ll admit—the whole nonviolent, brain-over-brawn thing is definitely sexy. And, as far as shadowy government contractors go, the Phoenix Foundation seems to actually be a force for good in the world (which probably makes the show at least as much of a fantasy as anything in Buffy). But the poll was about ACTION HEROES!!! I’m sorry, but no matter how much snazzy, late-80s theme music you layer over a suspenseful montage sequence, blowing a door open with some pencil shavings, a tube sock, a paper clip and toothpaste does Not. Beat. A Vampire Slayer.
I don’t remember MacGyver ever training, do you? “Hey, Mac, we’re going to let you loose at an OfficeMax filled with poisonous gas. You have two minutes to rig a breathing apparatus out of toner cartridges and binder clips, fly to safety on massive origami posterboard wings, and deliver a positive, anti-drug monologue to the adorable Mayim Bialik (Q: TV’s Blossom? A: The same!) Godspeed!” Nope. Never happened. He was always off playing hockey or flirting with Teri Hatcher (who, for the record, is not even a sexy vampire, unlike some people’s significant others).
In the interest of not pissing off my mother (or Patty and Selma Bouvier), I should say that I’m honestly glad MacGyver’s on the list, and I promise that I’m not trashing Richard Dean Anderson, who has always seemed like a pretty good guy. It’s just that if we were to arrange a cage match between the two characters, I think we all know that we’d be picking chunks of Angus MacGyver out of our hair in about thirty seconds, no matter how many chemistry sets and useful household supplies lay strewn about the Unholy Cage of Death. So, what do you think, people? Am I crazy, or are these rankings a little off? Who’s missing? Am I being too hard on poor Angus? And what was really going on with Magnum’s mustache? Feel free to rant away, get crazy—just go to town, really…